Australian Zach Murray delivered a perfect birthday present for his father with an opening 63 to share the lead on the opening day of the 100th New Zealand Open in Queenstown.
The 21-year-old Murray shot a flawless round which included eight birdies and after only a few minutes of preparation.
“It was a strange warm-up for me. I hit about five balls and I was like ‘I’m not going to get warm’, and so I just sat in the pro shop and waited until the sun came out, hit a couple of putts and off I went,” Murray said.
“I do that back at home when I’m just playing with my mates, so I suppose I might have to do that more often.”
Victorian Murray turned professional in November after winning the WA Open as an amateur, and finished fourth at Asian Tour Q-School. “(It’s) Dad’s birthday today. He messaged me last night and said 65 would be nice, considering he was born in ‘65, so I added a couple of years onto him today with a 63. I spoke to him quickly just before and he said he doesn’t mind,” added Murray.
Murray leads alongside New Zealander Harry Bateman and Japan's Ryiko Tokimatsu.
Bateman started the day with two bogeys but had four birdies and an eagle over his last six holes at The Hills to join Murray, who played Millbrook Resort this morning, and Tokimatsu who also played The Hills this afternoon, on eight-under the card.
There are 86 players in red figures with 16 players in a share of ninth on four-under the card, including US-based Tim Wilkinson and Josh Geary.